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Podcast / '80s All Over

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(A VHS tape is popped into a VCR and the Play button is pressed. Cue the "HBO Feature Presentation" promo music used from 1982-99:)
There are few decades in film history that have been as scrutinized as the 1980s. But to really understand the decade and its movies, it's gonna take a couple someones who were there for it the first time around. Drew McWeeny and Scott Weinberg are ready to review every major film of the decade one month at a time to look at what worked then, what endures now, and how it felt to be there when it all went down. Turn back the calendar with us...it's the '80s All Over.
Opening narration of each regular episode
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'80s All Over was a movie review podcast launched in 2016 by film critics (and occasional filmmakers) Drew McWeeny and Scott Weinberg, which ran through early 2019 when it was Cut Short for personal and professional reasons.

The format is summed up by that above Opening Narration: Drew and Scott, who both came of age as huge movie geeks in The '80s, examining as many films that received a proper theatrical release (whether "mainstream" or on the arthouse circuit; trial releases limited to, say, a week in New York weren't eligible) in the United States of America in that decade as possible. Each episode, released biweekly, covered one month's worth of releases (save for the wrap-up "Best of 198[X]" episodes following each December 198[X] installment). The critics' aim was to move beyond the Small Reference Pools version of the decade that saw The Blockbuster Age of Hollywood formally unfold — examining not only landmark blockbusters and trendsetters like Raiders of the Lost Ark, Ghostbusters, the teen comedies of John Hughes, the Slasher Film crush, etc., but also famous flops, cheap cash-ins, forgotten success stories, foreign imports, short-lived and/or oddball trends, reissues of older films, and early stabs at independent cinema...all in an age when cable and home video burst onto the scene and multiplexes were exponentially multiplying across the country.

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Drew and Scott made an effort to watch every movie fresh to prepare for each episode, but discussions are often accompanied by memories of seeing the films when they were new — or at least new to video. They explore how films are affected by the Nostalgia Filter and Values Dissonance, which leaves some of them behind and makes some of them feel fresh, swap stories of encounters with people who made the films, and examine how the moviegoing experience evolved in the decade and beyond it.

Patreon supporters of the show accessed additional content. The $5-a-month donation level, "Eddie Deezen", allowed access to bonus episodes aired in the weeks between regular episodes, which included interviews with performers from/creators of 1980s films, crossover discussions with hosts of other film-related podcasts, an overview of 1980s movie musicals, a retrospective of the "career" of Alan Smithee, viewer feedback and mailbag shows, full-length commentaries for favorite films, and more. The $10 level ("Dabney Coleman") added material from in-progress book companions to the show and $15 and up ("Ty Webb") allowed access to video content featuring Drew and Scott.

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Unfortunately, the scope and ambition of the show proved too much for Drew, Scott, and their producer to maintain along with their other jobs. What began as an 80-day hiatus in April 2019 was followed by the formal announcement of the show's cancellation come July, meaning it ended with the April 1985 episode rather than seeing the decade through to December 1989. All regular episodes remain available, and the bonus episodes have gradually been added since that September.

One of McWeeny's current projects, The Last '80s Book (You'll Ever Need), began as a companion to this series featuring his capsule reviews of all the films covered. He intends to complete it, in which case the series will become a case of The Resolution Will Not Be Televised.

This podcast features examples and/or discussions of:

  • Adored by the Network: invoked Drew and Scott point out the often-minor films that ended up getting frequent airings on HBO and other pay movie networks — and why. Beyond The Beastmaster, those included Savannah Smiles and Kidco — in part because back then R-rated movies were only shown between 8 pm on the East Coast and the wee hours of the morning. G and PG movies thus had to fill out about 2/3rds of the schedule once these channels were broadcasting 24/7, and the Walt Disney Company moving into pay cable in 1983 left a relatively limited selection of new family-friendly films for other channels to choose from. Elsewhere, Scott suspects the Box Office Bomb The Pirates of Penzance was an HBO staple because it flopped so badly, meaning the TV rights would have been extremely cheap. (Ironically, it flopped because it was originally supposed to be released to theaters and over-the-air pay TV channels at the same time. Many theater chains refused to book the film as a result.) In September 1984, Drew notes that some movies fondly remembered by people who had cable in the '80s might have those reputations due to a combination of this trope and Nostalgia Filter — just because somebody watched a movie that was constantly being aired a lot (such as the subject of discussion, Irreconcilable Differences) doesn't mean it was good.
  • Advertised Extra: Discussed.
    • December 1983's look at D.C. Cab points out that Mr. T's appearance in the film, which was shot before Rocky III and The A-Team made him a huge celebrity, became this when he was front and center on the posters. It's actually an ensemble comedy and Adam Baldwin's character centers the plot.
    • July 1984 follows suit with Best Defense, which was shot as a Dudley Moore vehicle; when it utterly failed in the test screening phase Eddie Murphy was a "Strategic Guest Star" via a completely separate set of new scenes (set two years after Moore's, as Murphy's soldier tries to survive in a tank with a component Moore designed) intercut with the original footage.
  • Alan Smithee: invoked The history of this pseudonym and "his" work in the 1980s are discussed in a bonus episode.
  • Alternate DVD Commentary: Bonus episodes include Drew and Scott's commentaries for the following personal favorite films:
    • The Dead Zone
    • Flash Gordon
    • The Fog
    • Popeye
    • Strange Brew
    • Time Bandits
    • Used Cars
    • Also, Drew notes in the bonus episode featuring DVD producer/filmmaker Charles de Lauzirika that he and Charles worked on an official commentary for The Fly II in 2005 that was ultimately omitted from that film's DVD release. Drew chalks that up to "I think we told too many stories" (it had a troubled development/production).
  • Annoying Laugh:
  • Anti-Climax: Drew feels that American Pop has this because the Generational Saga culminates in the in-universe creation of (Bob Seger's) "Night Moves", though he acknowledges that music rights issues got in the way of a more powerful/appropriate song holding that slot.
  • Arch-Enemy: Drew and Scott — the former especially — have a few.
    • Stanford Sherman wrote Any Which Way You Can, Krull, The Man Who Wasn't Therenote , and The Ice Pirates. Drew formally declares "Stanford Sherman, you are my enemy!" in the August 1983 episode during the discussion of the third film in that list (as a Standard Snippet of "Mars, the Bringer of War" from Gustav Holst's The Planets plays). However, since The Ice Pirates was Sherman's final screenplay, the conflict ends with the March 1984 episode.
      • In August '84 Scott declares Ted Wass — the male lead in Curse of the Pink Panther and Sheena — "The actors' equivalent to Stanford Sherman" with similar fanfare. Drew calls him a "human yawn" as a film actor.
    • In the April 1984 episode Drew considers declaring Blaine Novak, an actor who appeared in Strangers Kiss (which he also co-wrote) and Up the Creek, a new arch-enemy after loathing him in those films — but Novak had no acting credits afterwards so it doesn't take.
    • Come May 1984, Drew and Scott find a new one with their look at Making the Grade: screenwriter Gene Quintano, who also wrote/co-write Comin' At Ya!, Treasure of the Four Crowns, two of the Police Academy sequels, and The Cannon Group's Allan Quatermain adaptations. Due to the show being Cut Short, most of these went unreviewed.
  • Best for Last: Usually, the last movie covered in each episode is Drew and/or Scott's favorite of the bunch, which may or may not be the most famous movie of the month in question. In slower months with no obvious standout movies, the last one discussed is usually the most famous one (i.e. Return of the Jedi in May 1983). There are occasional exceptions to this approach, most obviously Heaven's Gate serving as the final film in the November 1980 episode.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: invoked Scott regards the excerpt of Wonder Bar's "Goin' to Heaven on a Mule" musical number as this in It Came from Hollywood. The movie is a Clip Show built around highlights and lowlights from B-movies and/or genre films, and suddenly there's a huge, horribly offensive Blackface musical number among them, and due to the film's nature it's not brought up again. Drew then reveals that his old Ain't It Cool News colleague Harry Knowles (Drew wrote as Moriarty for that site) once screened Wonder Bar in its entirety at a film festival...
  • Billing Displacement: invoked Scott calls out Cattle Annie and Little Britches (April 1981) for Burt Lancaster, John Savage, and Rod Steiger getting top billing over Amanda Plummer and Diane Lane, who play the title characters.
  • Blackmail: Drew and Scott's "pitch meeting" sketch for Nobody's Perfekt (August 1981) imagines that lead actors Gabe Kaplan, Robert Klein, and Alex Karras were all blackmailed into appearing in it because the screenwriter had incriminating photos of them and was willing to provide them to the curious producer at his request. They're also pretty sure that incriminating photos were the only way anyone beyond writer-director-producer Steven Paul was "convinced" to participate in Slapstick of Another Kind.
  • Bookends: Each regular episode starts with a VHS tape being put into a VCR, and ends with said tape being taken out of it. These often turn up in the bonus episodes as well, but the music and/or narration at the start is often different. The Nathan Rabin episode, for example, opened with excerpts from the Spatula City ad in UHF plus some of the film's theme songnote .
  • Breakaway Pop Hit: invoked In March 1984 this is discussed with regards to Against All Odds being virtually forgotten while Phil Collins' theme song "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" remains one of his biggest hits. Drew and Scott then ponder that director Taylor Hackford's previous film An Officer and a Gentleman also is most famous for its theme song "Up Where We Belong" these days, though as that movie was a huge hit it doesn't fall under this trope. His next film White Nights certainly had a case of this with Lionel Richie's "Say You, Say Me" — in effect, Hackford's career has been upstaged by theme songs!
  • Breakout Character: In August 1983 the discussion of Curse of the Pink Panther brings up how Inspector Clouseau was this, as in the original Pink Panther he was a supporting character but wound up being the focus of the sequels because he was so popular. (Scott casually notes "He's like the Minions in that regard.")
  • Broken Aesop: invoked Drew sees Revenge of the Nerds as a massive case of this at heart. Its success lay in how half the film convincingly puts forward the message "Nerds are people too". But the other half breaks it horribly as the title characters are Designated Heroes — the worst people in the story — and there are tons of homophobic, racist, etc. jokes at the expense of other marginalized people.
  • Celebrity Resemblance: Drew is amused that Tony Anthony, lead of the low-budget 3D Western Comin' at Ya!, resembles Kevin Pollak — not a natural for a Clint Eastwood-style gunslinger!
  • Christmas Episode: "The '80s All Over Holiday Special" Clip Show was released on December 23rd, 2018.
  • Clip Show:
    • Discussed: Drew and Scott really don't like this trope as applied to the Looney Tunes, as their discussions of The Looney, Looney, Looney Bugs Bunny Movie and its successors go to show — though it's nothing compared to their sheer hatred of Trail of The Pink Panther (a movie built in part from deleted scenes of recently deceased Peter Sellers) in the December 1982 episode. They are okay with films like the That's Entertainment! series that simply showcase highlights from classic films in the context of celebrating them, rather than trying to retrofit them into a new storyline, and Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, an Affectionate Parody that creatively repurposes Film Noir.
    • Played straight with "The '80s All Over Holiday Special", which arrived Christmas 2018 in lieu of a regular episode and featured clips from regular and bonus episodes.
  • Cool Old Lady: Scott's maternal grandmother. She was an early pay cable subscriber and would tape movies off of HBO for him (pop in a VHS tape, press record, and that's 2 and 1/2 movies). Even better for Scott, she was a huge fan of action and horror movies, so they had a lot of great times watching them together, as discussed in the Halloween Episode.
  • *Cough* Snark *Cough*: December 1982's debate over the merits of Gandhi has Scott, who enjoys the film far more than Drew does, note that there are some Best Picture winners later in the decade that he doesn't like — "[cough]-Out of Africa-[cough]".
  • Covers Always Lie: Discussed in both the description and actual episode for January 1985 with regards to Ghoulies: No, there are no toilet monsters in the actual film. In fact since the month is so thin (beyond Blood Simple) most of the episode description is given over to pondering the issue of the movie with the toilet monster on the poster not actually having toilet monsters in it.
  • Critical Backlash: invoked At the end of the November 1980 episode Drew discusses how Heaven's Gate underwent this, then saw a counter-backlash, then a counter-counter-backlash, etc. among professional critics. Drew and Scott, for their part, are on the side of those who didn't like it.
  • Crossover: The bonus episodes include crossover interviews with hosts from other film-related podcasts:
    • How Did This Get Made? (Paul Scheer)
    • James Bonding and In Voorhees We Trust (Matt Gourley)
    • Junkfood Cinema (Brian Salisbury and C. Robert Cargill)
    • Movie B.S. (Jeff Bayer and Eric D. Snider)
    • The Movie Crypt (Joe Lynch)
    • Nathan Rabin's Happy Place (Nathan Rabin)
    • TV Guidance Counselor (Ken Reid)
    • Switchblade Sisters (April Wolfe)
    • RiffTrax (Kevin Murphy)
    • While not a formal crossover We Hate Movies took on Tarzan, the Ape Man after Scott requested it as part of 2018's Listener Request Month, in the wake of he and Drew covering it for the July 1981 episode of their show.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Scott and Drew agree that Runaway is a classic example of this trope — given its villain has much better tech than the masses do, why not sell it instead of Take Over the World with it?
  • Cut Short: The show was going to cover the entire decade but instead ended with April 1985.
  • Deal with the Devil:
    • Drew's opening spiel about notable non-film events of March 1984, which was the month Starlight Express premiered in London's West End, notes that its success was Andrew Lloyd Webber's deal with Satan paying off once again.
    • In the "Saturday Night at the Movies — Part One" bonus episode (a look at the film work of the original generation Saturday Night Live cast members), they theorize that a genie granted Chevy Chase a wish for a successful film career in 1979 that was only good for a decade. As soon as 1990 rolled around, his career went severely downhill.
    • In March 1985, they argue that independent animation studios like Nelvana agreeing to do films like The Care Bears Movie to pay the bills were this trope in action, as they tended to end up in creative ditches as a result.
  • Dedication: Several episodes are dedicated to performers from '80s films who passed away in the week or so prior to their recording; the July 1983 episode is dedicated to Margot Kidder (best known as Lois Lane in the original run of Superman films), for instance. Typically, after Drew's opening recap of notable real world events in the month the episode covers, Drew and Scott will give a few minutes over to discussing the performer's work and legacy before going on with the rest of the show.
  • Distaff Counterpart:
    • Though her movie came out first, Drew and Scott decide that Barbara Carrera's Fatima Blush is this to Jack Nicholson's Joker...and that's a compliment!
    • In the bonus episode featuring Philadelphia Inquirer critic Carrie Rickey, they decide that Ellen Barkin is this to Dabney Coleman as far as "patron saints" of the show go.
  • Dolled-Up Installment: Scott refers to this trope as "In Name Only Sequel" when they discuss Meatballs Part II. Drew points out "you know you're going to infuriate 90% of the audience" when they realize it's a bait-and-switch. They also ask any listeners of the September 1984 episode who can identify a throughline between The Cannon Group's Enter the Ninja, Revenge of the Ninja, and Ninja 3: The Domination (Sho Kosugi is in all three films, but as different characters in each) to let them know what it is.
  • Dork Age: invoked The Walt Disney Company spent most of the decade in a serious Dork Age and Drew and Scott examine how their identity crisis is reflected in the films they produced at the time.
  • Double Feature: Drew and Scott review some double feature reissues Disney released early in the decade, and in the July 1984 episode briefly discuss the old "studio sneak preview" practice: an upcoming film getting a one-or-two night showing a week or two in advance of the general release to build word of mouth. Sometimes, this was done as a Double Feature with a film already in release. Revenge of the Nerds and Cloak and Dagger both got sneak preview treatment that month (in fact Revenge got two weekends' worth of previews), but did not officially open as standalone films until August, so the hosts don't review them until the next episode. Cloak and Dagger was paired up with The Last Starfighter. (This practice was phased out in the early 1990s.)=
  • Dump Months: Then as now, January-February and August-September periods tend to have much weaker overall slates than the rest of the year, but Drew and Scott find that November is prone to weak lineups until 1983. They're also surprised to find that May was not a big deal in 1983 and '84. May '83 had only 11 then-new releases beyond Return of the Jedi; with the highest-profile of those being Blue Thunder and Doctor Detroit, no less than four hits from the previous year (Rocky III, Porky's, Friday the 13th Part III, and Poltergeist) were brought back as quickie reissues to keep the month from drowning in B Movies. In the Halloween Episode, they ponder why so many of the most beloved horror movies were not released in October, and they chalk it up to that month traditionally being a dumping ground — especially for bad horror movies. Occasionally they are pleasantly surprised by a good dump month, such as February 1985 (which had two standouts in The Breakfast Club and Witness, plus some films Drew was really happy to revisit such as Into the Night).
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The bonus episodes often briefly discuss movies that Drew and Scott hadn't done full reviews of in the regular episodes because of the show's chronological approach, serving as previews of upcoming installments. The "Musicals" episode runs down just about every musical they have and would cover in the show. Elsewhere Drew dreaded revisiting The Garbage Pail Kids Movie (August 1987), which he regards as the worst children's movie of the decade, while Scott was chomping at the bit to discuss his favorite horror movie of the '80s in depth come August 1986. Sadly, the show ending with the April 1985 episode meant these never paid off, though Drew would subsequently discuss The Fly as a guest on an episode of the podcast Screen Drafts.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: While the format barely changed from its launch, up through August 1980 "boners" regarding release dates and missed movies that have to be caught up on were much more frequent than they were later, as Drew and Scott had trouble finding the relevant, correct information on such. This is partially because many of these films had gradual rollouts across the country (especially B Movies) and thus multiple dates exist for when they opened in certain territories. Drew and Scott tried to stick to the earliest U.S. general release date possible. (This is why they don't cover 1981's Porky's until March 1982, when 20th Century Fox released it in the U.S. after its huge success in Canada. It was one of several Canadian or U.S. independent hits they snapped up for a wide U.S. release.) Also, the January 1980 episode has a slightly different Opening Narration. There's a little more of this in the December 1979 test episode in that only a few of the movies covered are really discussed; Scavenger Hunt (1979) and Cannibal Holocaust each get more time than All That Jazz, for instance.
  • The '80s: All over!
  • Ending Fatigue: invoked In their respective episodes, Drew lauds Nighthawks and The Karate Kid (1984) for averting this trope by rolling credits immediately after "the last thing happens" of significance in each (in the former, the death of the Big Bad, in the latter, Daniel winning the tournament.
  • End of an Age: Drew is among those who regards the critical and financial failure of Heaven's Gate as the end of the "auteur era" of American film. He points out that it wasn't so much the price tags of films like that and Apocalypse Now that upset the powers-that-be in Hollywood — it was that directors had more power than suits as to how the money was spent. Heaven's Gate bombing as badly as it did gave them an easy justification to exert creative control over filmmakers again. This explains how in The Blockbuster Age of Hollywood far more money has been entrusted to far worse filmmakers than Michael Cimino.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: invoked Scott would watch a whole movie about Perfect Tommy!
  • Every Episode Ending: The Embassy Pictures/Home Video logo music, followed by the VHS tape being taken out of the VCR and popped into a rewinder, fading out on the sound of it being rewound.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys:
    • Scott says in the January 1981 that he personally believes the opposite of this trope applies to gorillas in 1980s comedies. He cites the film under discussion at the time, The Incredible Shrinking Woman, and Trading Places as examples of movies that suffer once a gorilla is brought on in Act Three.
    • In their discussion of Going Ape! (April 1981), Drew wonders why orangutans became Hollywood's go-to funny animal for a few years at the turn of the 1980s. Did people just suddenly become aware of their existence in 1978? Later on, however, Scott admits that George A. Romero's Knightriders "really could use Clint Eastwood and an orangutan."
  • Evil Laugh: Drew has one he occasionally uses...
    • In "The Best of 1981" he breaks out in one as their discussion of the top-grossing films in the U.S. goes from Number 6 — Chariots of Fire, the Best Picture Oscar winner — to Number 5 — The Cannonball Run, a deeply goofy car race comedy.
    • In August 1983, Scott points out to Drew that he really upset fans of the movie Coco by pointing out, in the previous episode, that "Remember Me" has a VERY similar melody to the love theme from Krull. "Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha, I did!"
  • Excited Show Title!: Drew and Scott don't think this trope should be used by anyone besides the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker team, but Troma especially liked using it for wacky comedies (Waitress!, Stuck on You!, etc.) after Airplane! was a hit. Whenever they have to cover one of those films they ponder how exactly its title should be read out loud.
  • Executive Meddling: invoked This is brought up when it's relevant to the movie they're discussing in one way or another.
  • Exploitation Film: In the May 1980 episode, they discuss how this style of film was co-opted by major Hollywood studios as part of the horror boom of the decade and rendered somewhat Lighter and Softer. Because of this Drew and Scott, both huge horror fans, saw Humanoids from the Deep — a genuine exploitation film that takes Mars Needs Women to nasty extremes — at much too young an age and were deeply disturbed by its content.
  • Films of the 1980s
  • First World Problems: By the time they got to Irreconcilable Differences in September 1984, Drew and Scott had completely lost patience with comedies involving the relationship travails of well-off white people (especially the men) in part because their central crises boiled down to these, resulting in characters that were extremely hard to emphasize with.
  • Flashback Effects: A whole tone scale on a harp is often used to transition into/out of Drew's anecdotes about his (often awkward) encounters with actors and filmmakers or interview excerpts from bonus episodes that are relevant to the film under discussion in a regular episode.
  • Follow the Leader: invoked The show examines many cinematic trends that came and went throughout the decade. Along with the obvious ones — the 3-D movie revival of 1981-83, several varieties of teen comedies, Mad Max imitations, etc. — they also explore more esoteric ones:
    • Superhero comedies (Hero at Large, Condorman, The Return of Captain Invincible) as a low-budget response to Superman: The Movie.
    • Horror spoofs in the wake of both the Slasher Film boom and the success of Airplane!, which spawned a lot of quantity-over-quality gag-driven comedies for a few years.
    • Sword-and-sorcery Low Fantasy even before the release of Conan the Barbarian.
    • Adaptations of characters who were fairly well known yet hadn't been seen on the big screen for decades — Heidi, Pippi Longstocking, etc. Reasons why studios did this, especially early in the decade, vary — Zorro, the Gay Blade was a Spiritual Successor to lead actor George Hamilton's hit Dracula comedy Love at First Bite, The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu and Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen were parodies, The Legend of the Lone Ranger was trying to follow in the high-adventure footsteps of Superman: The Movie, etc. None of these films were hits.
    • After 1979's Kramer vs. Kramer won Dustin Hoffman an Oscar, several fellow A-list actors played single dads struggling to hold on to their kids: Al Pacino did Author! Author!, Jon Voight did Table for Five, and Gene Hackman did Misunderstood. Even Kenny Rogers's Non-Actor Vehicle Six Pack (released by the same studio just a month after Author! Author!) is a variation on this theme, being about a stock-car racer who takes a sextet of orphans under his wing. This is the basis for the "Al Pacino loves his kids!" Running Gag.
    • The "demolition derby of charming drunks" that started with Arthur and continued with My Favorite Year, Educating Rita, and Reuben, Reuben (ALL FOUR saw their respective leads nominated for the Best Actor Academy Award over 1981-83).
    • Rat-based horror movies in 1983 (Deadly Eyes, Rats: Night of Terror, one segment of Nightmares, Of Unknown Origin). Drew theorizes that this wasn't due to one movie taking off but rather a bunch of producers seeing the same documentary about rats on TV and deciding the critters would make a good horror antagonist.
  • Fratbro: Although they don't use the term, Drew and Scott identify what's more or less this character type in their discussion of If You Could See What I Hear (April 1982) as ubiquitous in 1980s comedies (which were following on from the success of Animal House and its Wacky Fratboy Hijinx), with actors like Michael Keaton and Tom Hanks finding their first big hits playing them. While Drew and Scott found these WACKY, AWESOME characters (who were Always Male and always white) funny at the time, they find most of them cringeworthy now, especially if their actors didn't have the legitimate charisma of Keaton or Hanks.
  • From the Mouths of Babes: In November 1983, Drew and Scott spoof this with an Imagine Spot of sorts in which an 11-year-old Scott profanely complains about The Smurfs and the Magic Flute.
  • Halloween Episode: The bonus episode released on October 22, 2018 — a retrospective of horror movies of the 1980s.
  • He Also Did: invoked It's theorized that the whole reason Moving Violations (April 1985) existed was because this trope could be invoked by the studio: "From the creators of Police Academy"!
  • History Repeats:
    • From their look at How to Beat the High Cost of Living in January 1980 onwards, Drew and Scott note that a lot of 1980s movies — even comedies such as this one (about a trio of suburban women who plot a robbery to pay their bills) — deal with socio-political issues that are still/again problems in The New '10s, in particular economic/class woes in the United States.
    • In the Halloween Episode Drew and Scott saw the run of remakes/reboots of 1980s and '80s-adjacent horror films that's been on since the Turn of the Millennium as this, because in the Eighties there was a run of variations on 1930s-50s horror films. The main differences is that while the '80s cycle yielded up a few genuine classics, such as The Thing (1982) and The Fly (1986), the later cycle...didn't. (This could be because the huge advances in technology and looser restrictions on content that the '80s afforded filmmakers who wanted to reinvent old stories didn't apply in The New '10s — meaning that they were more likely to be pale imitations of the originals.)
  • Hollywood Hype Machine: invoked Drew and Scott see a lot of performers come and go through this machine through the decade, with wildly varying results. They have a particular morbid fascination with Hollywood's many failed attempts to make Robert Hays — Ted Stryker in Airplane! — an A-lister from 1981 onward. Had the show not been Cut Short, they would have turned their attention to Judge Reinhold's journey through it in the second half of the decade (as discussed in July 1984's look at Roadhouse 66), a typical case of Hollywood trying to elevate a good supporting player into an A-list lead.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: Drew sees director Stanley Donen's final film turning out to be the morally reprehensible Blame It on Rio as a serious case of this for the guy who directed/co-directed films like Singin' in the Rain and Charade.
  • Hype Backlash: invoked Discussed at the end of the September 1980 episode regarding the year's Best Picture Oscar winner Ordinary People. While it isn't Drew or Scott's favorite film of 1980 or even of that month (that would be the teen comedy My Bodyguard), they both think it's excellent and feel bad that it beat out Raging Bull and The Elephant Man because this trope has applied to it ever since. (Drew himself resented it for fifteen years just because it beat Raging Bull.)
  • Hypothetical Casting: In the first Viewer Mailbag episode from August 2017, Drew and Scott find themselves wondering who would have played Marvel Cinematic Universe characters had it launched in the 1980s. With the help of Twitter followers, their answers are:
  • Irony: Scott ponders, while discussing Roadie in June 1980, the situational irony that it and other movies that made the various musicians appearing in them and/or contributing to their soundtracks central to their marketing campaigns later became difficult, if not impossible, to find on home media BECAUSE they had various musicians appearing in them and/or contributing to their soundtracks, resulting in tons of pricey music rights issues that needed to be cleared by distributors. The reason people were supposed to see these movies turned into the reason they couldn't see them!
  • Just Here for Godzilla: invoked Scott didn't get Into the Night as it were, but did enjoy Jeff Goldblum's performance, going on to say that over the years he's endured some awful movies just because Goldblum was in them.
  • Kids Shouldn't Watch Horror Films: This concept is often discussed in both regular and bonus episodes (especially the horror-centric ones) because it was a particularly pervasive concept in the 1980s, when the genre was wildly popular but looked down upon by many film critics, Moral Guardians, parents, etc. Drew and Scott's dads certainly felt this way — Drew's would toss out his issues of Fangoria when he found them, Scott's would shred them and leave the remains on his bed as a Take That! In his experience as a parent Drew has shown many horror films, including R-rated ones, to his kids and more often than not they love them. Scott's mom and Cool Old Lady grandmother also disagreed with the trope big time!
  • Laughing Mad: Drew risks becoming this in the August 1983 episode between an unusually large number of awful movies and their sheer ridiculousness, helped along by some very silly transitions and the backlash from listeners about the issues with Krull and Coco (see below). It's most obvious with Drew laughing maniacally during the trailer excerpt of Curse of the Pink Panther.
  • Left Hanging: Because the show was Cut Short the films of the decade from May 1985 onward went without being reviewed, meaning big movies and discussions teased in earlier episodes never came to pass. Films that were going to be "event" reviews included Back to the Future, The Goonies, Top Gun, Fatal Attraction, etc. On the other hand, in a sort of Spiritual Successor Drew would participate in the Screen Drafts podcast episode covering the David Cronenberg filmography in May 2020 and discussed the two '80s films of his the show hadn't been able to cover — The Fly (1986) and Dead Ringers — at length in a similar manner to this show.
  • Limited Animation: Drew has little patience for theatrically-released animated features that fall into this trope, and is especially frustrated by the poorer-quality animation used to piece together the Looney Tunes Clip Show films. Unfortunately, for much of the decade (in particular, after the early wave of adults-only films through 1983 and before Don Bluth's breakthrough to audiences with An American Tail and the Disney animation studio finally finding its footing again) this was about all that was produced for theatrically-released animated features, namely a wave of Merchandise-Driven films. Interestingly the first animated feature the show covered, Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (May 1980), was not dinged for this trope, likely because it was just part and parcel of the Peanuts franchise by that point.
  • Loophole Abuse: The show specifically focuses on feature-length films that received a legit U.S. theatrical release. With this in mind, Scott sees their occasionally having to watch and discuss (usually foreign) Made For TV Movies and Miniseries that were released to theaters in the U.S. (sometimes cut to feature-length in the case of the latter), such as Fanny and Alexander, as this in action as they weren't meant for theatrical release. By the time they have to discuss Berlin Alexanderplatz (which is over 14 hours long) in 1983, Scott's openly complaining about having to handle these productions even if they're good. As a result he's really peeved in August 1984 by Sam's Son, a film that almost was a TV movie and plays like a bad one in practice. (As for The Day After, it's discussed in November 1983 because, as THE TV movie of the decade, it was just too big to ignore as far as the podcast's producer was concerned.)
  • Magical Computer: Discussed with regards to such films as Evilspeak and TRON. As Drew puts it in their look at Electric Dreams in July 1984, "Remember, in The '80s computers were magic! They were weird, dark magic!" (He and Scott move on to the next film by noting that computers can't replicate the joys of Jim Henson and The Muppets, though.)
  • Manly Tears: Drew and Scott might burst into mock-tears regarding some of the crummier films they review, but sometimes the tears are real.
    • Drew cries at the end of the July 1982 episode with their pick of the month, The World According to Garp, as he reflects on the talent of the late Robin Williams.
    • In March 1984, Drew subtly tears up while discussing a scene in the Paul Newman vehicle/directorial effort Harry & Son that, in his opinion and based upon his own experiences as a dad, perfectly captures a father coming to understand their son's surprising potential.
    • Discussed in July 1984: Scott was starting to feel too old for The Muppets by the time The Muppets Take Manhattan was released, but "Saying Goodbye" brings him to tears — every time — nonetheless. Drew then recounts attending a press junket for The Muppets: Kermit the Frog (as performed by Steve Whitmire) was available for interviews, and Drew saw a Mexican journalist burst into tears and hug Kermit upon entering the room. One of the attendants said that this was not the first time that day that tears flowed.
    • Scott tears up during the discussion of The Terminator (October 1984) as he recounts how as a kid he often watched it with his late Uncle Mickey.
    • December 1984 has Drew tearfully recount a life-changing experience: He got to spend a day visiting the location shoot of Starman (his mom helped with the extras casting), and thanks to a kind unit publicist even got to meet John Carpenter, Jeff Bridges, and Karen Allen, all of whom were gems. Well over a decade later, Drew visited the set of Evolution and encountered the same unit publicist, who recognized him. They both cried as Drew thanked him for his kindness years ago. Add to that how much Drew loves Starman as a film...
  • Market-Based Title: Some of the bonus episodes received new, more specific titles when they were released to the public. "Halloween" became "The Halloween Season", "Saturday Night at the Movies — Part One" became "It's Saturday Night Live" (since the planned followups were never made), etc.
  • Mighty Whitey: In the September 1984 episode, they see New World Pictures's Body Rock as a cinematic attempt at this trope — Scott notes that The Cannon Group was first to make trend-hopping movies about early rap and hip-hop, "Then Roger Corman came along and said 'You know who can do this better? White people!'" Scott then describes the movie as about the tall nerdy guys who suddenly start breakdancing at the end of Footloose. "It's Top That — The Movie!"
  • Mood Whiplash: The sheer variety of movies featured in each episode means that it is often difficult to smoothly transition from a discussion of one film to another — say, from a horror film to a romantic drama. Drew and Scott often lampshade the resultant invocation of this trope, and/or come up with intentionally ridiculous transitions for laughs.
  • Name and Name: Spoofed: In August 1984 Scott creates a transition between Tightrope and Flashpoint by suggesting they could be paired with each other: "Tightrope and Flashpoint! They ain't takin' no guff!"
  • Never Live It Down: invoked In June 1983, they discuss how John Landis has never been able to live down the Twilight Zone: The Movie disaster that killed Vic Morrow and two child actors, and he never will. While Drew and Scott agree that he should — and does, based on Drew's experiences working with him — forever live with guilt for how his actions led to catastrophe, Drew points out that other people invoking this trope are "handing [guilt and pain] to him".
  • Newbie Boom: invoked In The Dead Zone commentary bonus episode, Drew and Scott ponder how actors like Christopher Walken, Willem Dafoe, and Jeff Goldblum seem to get this every few years thanks to their distinctive personas and wide-ranging resumes. They even suggest to younger listeners who may have only just discovered Goldblum by way of Thor: Ragnarok to ask them on Twitter for recommendations for his best 1980s performances.
  • Nostalgia Filter: invoked
    • Drew and Scott admit that memories of growing up with certain 1980s movies can color adult opinions of them. Their policy of freshly watching every film they discuss films allows them to examine how much the filter affects individual films they enjoy, and whether said films are good enough to warrant fond memories or not. Part of the point of their Popeye commentary bonus episode is exploring its genuine merits (its acting, worldbuilding, music) to argue that people who love the film aren't just enjoying it through a filter.
    • With regards to childhood favorites, they feel that Superman III defenders are very, very affected by this trope, with Scott even saying "Your childhood is WRONG!" In fact, when they get to films that are deeply, deeply loved by kids of the 1980s, Drew and Scott will warn the listener if they're about to tear them down, with The NeverEnding Story (July 1984) a case in point. They do believe, firmly, that people should like what they like (as discussed in a bonus feedback episode, regarding how their stinging Condorman review garnered a surprising amount of response from fans of the film) — but warn them to beware of revisiting childhood favorites all the same, arguing in the NeverEnding Story review that people who love that movie probably haven't watched it lately. The following month, the film is brought up again in their discussion of Cloak & Dagger. Drew and Scott don't think Cloak completely works but unlike NeverEnding Story, they point out it's earned its devoted fans via the genuinely moving depiction of a realistically troubled father-son relationship.
    • Inversions also turn up as they revisit films they didn't like or just weren't interested in when they were new and find that they enjoy or at least appreciate them. They were dreading revisiting Never Say Never Again especially, but found come October 1983 that they rather liked it — and they loved Barbara Carrera's Large Ham performance as Fatima Blush.
    • Drew also discusses this with regards to his father, who was a huge fan of the cheesy Cannon action films of the decade, from the films of Chuck Norris (who both Drew and Scott regard as a middling Action Hero at best) to the Ninja boom. The latter especially causes Drew to say that his dad has no right to make fun of him for the cheesy modern movies he enjoys given how bad some of his favorites from the '80s were!
    • In the February 1983 episode's look at the film adaptation of The Pirates of Penzance, Drew brings up how the pop cultural and public perception of Pirates has been affected by this, as exemplified by the first big musical number having the pirates chasing and trying to capture women Played for Laughs. Scott hates such Lovable Rogue depictions of classical pirates and Talk Like a Pirate Day, and wishes someone would make a movie depicting them realistically, ala Black Sails.
  • Not Hyperbole: Drew kicks off the discussion of The Dark Crystal (December 1982) with "Boy, they aren't kidding about that ''Dark'' are they?"
  • Not So Different: Drew points out in the June 1980 look at Herbie Goes Bananas that, given that the sentient Volkswagen Beetle helps its various male owners find romance and fortune in the preceding three films, "Herbie's basically Christine." (Cue "Bad to the Bone".)
  • Novelization: Drew adored novelizations as a kid and bought and read any and all that he could. In the April 1984 episode he admits he bought and read the novelization of Kidco when it was new but never saw the movie until he was preparing for this episode. He also checked out novels that became The Film of the Book and had tie-in editions published to coincide with the film's release, such as I Am the Cheese (because The Other Kid from E.T. was on the cover). A special favorite of his is The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension for its continuation of the film's cheeky conceit that this is just one of the many, many adventures of the dashing hero, with footnotes and references to previous ones throughout.
  • Older Than They Think: invoked Drew and Scott discuss how certain trends and concepts were/are this.
  • Old Shame: invoked Drew and Scott deal with a lot of films that must be/are old shames for their participants. Drew also admits more than once that yes, he was one of the (many) credited writers on F.A.R.T. The Movie back in 1991 — everyone has to start somewhere! In the January 1983 episode that first brings this up, he explains that if a comedy film has a lot of credited writers, it's possible that some of them came up with only a bit of material and accepted a credit in lieu of payment.
  • On the Next: Drew wraps up each episode by teasing several of the films that will be covered in the next one, but rarely if ever by titles. For example, June 1981 ends with "Next month guys, we've got Blake Edwards doing one of his strangest and most personal films, we've got Albert Finney fighting... werewolves, sort of? We've got punk rock, and Pele playing soccer in World War II and we've got the best Brian De Palma movie and we've got John Carpenter icons and drunk British people and Disney cartoons — it's unbelievable!" Because the show was Cut Short, the final regular episode teases the May 1985 episode even though it was ultimately never produced.
  • Opening Narration: Quoted above, and read by the show's producer. The bonus episodes sometimes include variations on this — the look at 1980s musicals has Scott read a paraphrased version of the opening narration of Little Shop of Horrors over the appropriate music from the film.
  • Overly Narrow Superlative:
    • Drew on April 1981's Improper Channels: "If I'm not mistaken, this is the funniest Canadian movie ever made about false allegations of child abuse."
    • Drew on February 1983's Threshold, to the point of Corpsing even as he sincerely means it as a compliment: "If you're looking for a decently entertaining movie about somebody trying to build an artificial heart, you can't go too wrong with Threshold."
  • Overshadowed by Controversy: invoked Drew regards The Cotton Club as this and, unusually for this show, decides not to go into depth about its various travails (most infamously the murder of a potential financier) because, unlike with Twilight Zone: The Movie (where, due to the deaths of its performers, the original Happily Ever After ending for the first segment couldn't be shot/used and had to be replaced with a Downer Ending), they didn't have much to do with how the actual film turned out.
  • Padding: invoked Often discussed and criticized, but also spoofed in the May 1983 episode when Scott claims that to get the episode up to the usual length in an unusually thin month for releases, they're going to have their producer do some tap dancing.
  • Pet-Peeve Trope: invoked Certain tropes and concepts can severely affect Drew and Scott's enjoyment of films that use them, or simply prove too annoying not to note when they appear.
  • Poor Man's Substitute: invoked Discussing Q: The Winged Serpent at the end of the October 1982 episode, Drew sees writer-director Larry Cohen as this to Steven Spielberg in a complimentary way, namely that he could bring similar High Concept genre premises to life on far, far smaller budgets.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis:
    • Drew explains this with regards to Shogun Assassin (the Compilation Movie drawn from the Lone Wolf and Cub films, released in November 1980): "If you don't know this movie, here's how you do know it: You know it from the end of Kill Bill Vol. 2."
    • In their discussion of Scanners (January 1981), Drew and Scott ponder how that film has undergone this, and not just by way of the Your Head Asplode scene — which happens very early on — becoming a popular online meme. They then play an excerpt of the "Jimmy Tango's Fat Busters" sketch from the Season 21 (1996) finale of Saturday Night Live in which Jim Carrey and Will Ferrell's characters (who are both crystal meth users) engage in a scanning battle as a direct parody of the film's climax.
  • Poster-Gallery Bedroom: A real life variation: In the July 1984 episode, when Drew and Scott are discussing the music from Ghostbusters — the main element they didn't bring up in the previous episode's review — Drew reveals that he visited Ray Parker, Jr.'s house while writing a book on the film. There is a room in it where the walls are covered with every Gold record he received for sales of the title song — and as the song was a massive international hit, there's a lot of them!
  • Power Echoes: Sometimes Drew or Scott's voices are given an echo effect to humorously emphasize a negative point, i.e. Drew declaring Stanford Sherman his Arch-Enemy in August 1983.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner / Bond One-Liner: In the discussion of Blue Thunder Drew notes that these two tropes were all over 1980s action movies, taking off from how memorably Jaws used the former trope back in 1975. Blue Thunder has a memorable example of the latter trope, and both examples are spoken by the same actor: Roy Scheider.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: invoked Discussed in the "Video Games" bonus episode along with its inverse trope (see below).
  • Pun: Scott, especially, loves the odd cheesy pun. Standout examples include:
    • After their discussion of Curse of the Pink Panther in the August 1983 episode, Scott uses one to provide a transition and cheer up a teary, sniffling Drew:
    Scott: Speaking of purview, Drew?
    Drew: What?
    Scott: Do you know what you are?
    Drew: A glutton for punishment?
  • Questioning Title?: Drew and Scott wonder if Stuck on You! (January 1983) might have been better off as Stuck on You? in part because it would fit the framing device (a pair of lovers unsure about their relationship) and just because this trope isn't as common as Excited Show Title! is.
  • Rated M for Manly: Drew's dad loved movies that invoked this trope such as the Chuck Norris canon, Nighthawks, Blue Thunder, and — as Scott correctly guessesUncommon Valor.
  • Redemption Quest: In the Musicals bonus episode, Drew sees the reversal of the Walt Disney Company's fortunes in the second half of the 1980s under the Michael Eisner-Jeffrey Katzenberg-Frank Wells regime as this, culminating with the triumphant release and reception of The Little Mermaid in November 1989, which became the cornerstone of the company's journey to becoming THE dominant force in media by the end of The New '10s.
  • The Red Stapler: invoked The discussion of Where the Boys Are '84 in the April 1984 episode has Drew discussing how the teen sex comedy craze affected Florida, where he lived for part of the decade. Because so many of these films were set in the state (this one in Fort Lauderdale), it gained a reputation it didn't previously have for being THE place for spring break and unhinged libidos — one that was ultimately realized by all the people who were inspired by the movies heading down there, determined to experience it all for themselves.
  • Review Ironic Echo: Drew and Scott sometimes turn the titles of films they don't like against them and may well hang a lampshade on it; an example is Drew panning Blue Skies Again (July 1983) by noting that no one has to see it ever again, followed by Scott pointing out what he just did.
  • Right Behind Me: In the February 1981 episode, Drew describes experiencing this trope in 1992. He and some animator friends had just seen a rough cut of Cool World. At a restaurant they was tearing the film to shreds, wondering how Ralph Bakshi could make something so unreleasable...unaware that Bakshi himself was having dinner there too, and within earshot of them. Bakshi came up behind Drew, put his hand on his shoulder, and very profanely asked him to shut up about the movie until he was done eating, or else he would beat him up. They obeyed, "because Ralph Bakshi's a scary dude in person. Having said that, I kind of like American Pop."
  • Ripped from the Headlines:
    • In the September 1983 episode, they discuss a clutch of action movies and thrillers that involve the Cold War or then-contemporary conflicts like the war in Nicaragua, with Scott even dropping the trope name at one point. Drew explains that this was the then-latest cycle of films cashing in on real-life headlines to prop up rather pedestrian, basic action plots (escaping the war-torn country, etc.). This trope was also the basis for the run of "farmers in crisis" films at the end of 1984 (Places in the Heart, Country, etc.).
    • Inverted with Threshold. This hard sci-fi film about a fictional artificial heart's development and first implanting in a human was not released in the United States until March 1983, a few months after the implanting of the Jarvik-7 artificial heart into Barney Clark (who passed away the month of the film's release, in fact). But it was released in 1981 in Canada, so it actually predated that event, drawing upon the in-progress development of the Jarvik-7. Drew notes that the filmmakers must have been anxious that their movie would be dated before it even wrapped filming!
  • Role Association: invoked Sometimes humorously invoked.
    • January 1982: Death Valley has a character played by Peter Billingsley, inspiring Scott's introductory comment "Ralphie made a horror movie!"
    • March 1982: I'm Dancing as Fast as I Can, a drama about Valium addiction, has a stretch set at a mental institution. Two of the patients are played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern, so Drew can't help but see their presence as providing the backstory of the Wet Bandits!
    • In the Rebecca Swan bonus episode, she tells Drew how she tricked her daughter into believing that The War of the Roses was the conclusion of a trilogy that began with Romancing the Stone and The Jewel of the Nile due to Kathleen Turner, Michael Douglas, and Danny DeVito playing the leads in that movie too. The daughter bought it until about 20 minutes into the film!
  • Rule of Cool: Scott sees The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension so thoroughly indulging in this trope as the reason it's the rare film made with the intent of becoming a cult item that pulled/pulls it off, and Drew agrees. Not only are the characters awesomely cool, but so are their actors. The World Building is dense (even more so in the Novelization) and the film's setup so quickly delivered — all based on the premise that the audience already knows all about Buckaroo's previous adventures — that a viewer has only two options: accept the film and its world wholeheartedly or be completely flummoxed and reject it.
  • Running Gag:
    • When Drew and/or Scott are really (often sarcastically) impressed by something, he'll say "Wow!" — promptly echoed by a soundbite of Eddie Deezen saying "Woooow!"
    • "Dabney Coleman is first-rate!" is a cheeky interview soundbite from the man himself always brought up when Coleman appears in a film. Drew and Scott regard him as the patron saint of the podcast. ("Dabney Coleman is the best-")
    • Oliver Reed, the Dainty Ape!
    • All the episodes that covered a David Cronenberg film had a stinger involving a soundbite from it.
    • Starting in the August 1981 episode, Drew and Scott often do short "pitch meeting" sketches imagining what the hypothetical pitches for particularly odd/bad movies were like by way of introducing their discussions of them.
    • The hairy, sweaty unattractiveness of Burt Young (best known as Paulie, Rocky's pal). At the top of the January 1983 episode, Drew admits they've been awfully hard on him, but Scott points out "I'm pretty sure Burt Young has a mirror, dude." This doesn't mean they don't like him as an actor — far from it!
    • Al Pacino's got a lot of kids! He loves his kids!
    • Drew and Scott constantly forgetting to review Hell Night, which they should have covered in the December 1981 episode, becomes this in the last few episodes of 1982. Resolved in the stinger of the January 1983 episode, since it was a thin month.
    • In February 1983, the transition to the discussion of Threshold has Scott note that the film reunited the male leads of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) (Donald Sutherland and Jeff Goldblum), and with that a sound clip of the distinctive screech of a pod person is played. The next movie is the divorce/child custody drama Table for Five, and Drew notes that the movie's Wham Line moment is underlined with "a John Carpenter music cue" so over-the-top that "it is Donald Sutherland at the end of Invasion of the Body Snatchers in tone!" Screeeeeech! Finally, the screech is part of The Stinger of the episode!
    • After they review it in the first half of the February 1984 episode, Drew and Scott keep bringing up the gross premise of Blame It on Rio (affair between a married middle-aged man and his friend's teenage daughter) in the second half.
    • From the ending of the March 1984 episode, in which it's teased in the On the Next segment, onward they treat Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter as if it were actually the last film in that series whenever it's brought up. Then the On the Next segment that closes February 1985 has Drew tease that they're soon going to figure out what this whole New Beginning business is. Had the show lasted longer, the gag would have evolved further — Drew and Scott end their review of New Beginning by assuming that the character that film focuses on will remain so in subsequent films.
    • Several November 1984 movies revolve around rock musicians played by non-musicians, and each one is accompanied by a snippet of "The Touch"...the version from Boogie Nights, that is! This gag returned in January 1985 when they tackled the Troma film Rockin' Road Trip.
    • February 1985's look at The Mean Season has Drew introduce "Bad News" — his designation for the oncoming storm of similar movies about reporters who are terrible at their jobs. This running gag's theme song is Don Henley's "Dirty Laundry". Subverted as this didn't turn up again before the show was discontinued.
    • Hunk is an obscure Deal with the Devil comedy Crown International Pictures released in March 1987. Hunk was positively brought up by guest commentators in two different bonus episodes, much to Drew and Scott's bemusement/amusement. Bringing up Hunk thus became a running gag in both bonus and regular episodes — long, long before they were due to actually watch and discuss it for themselves. Ultimately, they never did.
    • Variations on "We've discussed [obscure, bad movie X] longer than anyone else in history."
  • Screwed by the Network: invoked If a movie was legitimately mishandled by its distributor, Drew and Scott will discuss how whether the final result was good or not. The early stretch of July 1983 goes into this at length for both Rock & Rule and the sci-fi spoof musical The Creature Wasn't Nice.
  • The '70s: The two "test episodes" subsequently released as bonus episodes cover August and December of 1979 (including Apocalypse Now, Life of Brian, 1941, and Being There). In addition, it's pointed out that up through 1983, many films are reflecting '70s culture and priorities rather than those of The '80s, with Drew calling November of '83's Star 80 the last film of The '70s.
  • Shout-Out: The Viewer Mailbag bonus episodes always open with a sound bite of Master Shake: "Maaaail callllll!"
  • Shrouded in Myth: Drew says that Smokey and the Bandit 3 is this due to the urban legend claiming that in the original version, Smokey IS the Bandit, Jackie Gleason played two different roles before reshoots added Jerry Reed to the proceedings. Drew actually talked to its director, and thus is able to confirm that in the original cut Gleason only played Sheriff Buford T. Justice; test audiences were just confused as to the lack of the Bandit, leading Reed to be cast as a substitute for that character (since Burt Reynolds only made a cameo in this one) and the film reshot.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Scott's one complaint against The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension is that it has only one significant female character as opposed to all the memorable guys and she spends a third of the movie as a Distressed Damsel to boot. Drew chalks it up both to the film being an affectionate goof on Pulp Magazine tropes and that it was made in 1984, and that if such a film were made today there would be a better ratio of male-to-female characters.
  • Something Completely Different: Occasionally the show covers a production that doesn't fit the stated criteria of a feature film that saw a U.S. theatrical release, either because it was supposed to see a release but was cancelled/couldn't find a distributor or had cultural significance in its own right.
    • May 1981: Roar (Released overseas in '81; brought up by way of comparison to that month's Savage Harvest, which is also about a family terrorized by lions...but not nearly as infamous)
    • June 1983: The Return of Captain Invincible (Not released in the U.S. because the distributor went belly-up one week before it was to open; previously discussed with screenwriter Steven E. de Souza in a bonus interview episode)
    • November 1983: The Day After (The most famous TV movie of the decade; for bonus points it's compared and contrasted with Testament, another post-nuclear holocaust drama which was made for television but sent to theaters the same month)
    • December 1983: "Thriller" (THE Music Video of the decade) and Mickey's Christmas Carol (Disney animated featurette attached to a reissue of The Rescuers; first use of Mickey Mouse and company on the big screen in decades)
    • September 1984: Nothing Lasts Forever (Cancelled by MGM/UA due to complex rights issues that have since allowed the film to air on Turner Classic Movies but not be released on home media)
    • The bonus episode on musicals noted they would cover Moonwalker in 1988 although it did not see a U.S. theatrical release (the common explanation is that Michael Jackson's people asked for too big a cut of the grosses, but Drew says it's because the studio didn't know how to sell it). This was another film that went unreviewed when the show was Cut Short.
    • One bonus episode from Spring 2018 has them review the then-new Ready Player One, which is heavily steeped in 1980s culture, and interview its co-writer Zak Penn.
    • One of the November 2018 bonus episodes is about video games and their fraught relationship with film, particularly in the 1980s when the medium really took off.
  • Spear Counterpart:
    • In June 1981 Drew and Scott discuss how one of the biggest hits of 1981, Stripes, was more or less this to one of the biggest hits of 1980, Private Benjamin, as both are comedies about protagonists who join the army on a whim.
    • Scott sees All the Right Moves as this to Flashdance, though a far better film, in the October 1983 episode. It helps that both movies have their youthful, big-dreams protagonists living in Pittsburgh.
  • The Stinger: In addition to (or on top of) the traditional Every Episode Ending, some episodes add this. It's usually either a soundbite from a favorite film covered in the episode or a Take That! at a not-so-favorite film.
  • Special Edition Title: The bonus episode (one of the earliest ones) featuring an interview with screenwriter Steven E. deSouza doesn't include the HBO Feature Presentation theme in favor of an Opening Narration that's more in the style of an action movie trailer.
  • Stop Being Stereotypical: Drew discusses this on a genre level in October 1984. It was very hard to be a Horror fan in the 1980s because for all of the fun, clever, and/or intelligent films being made during that era, as soon as a critic or Moral Guardian got a whiff of a grisly, artless Exploitation Film like The New York Ripper, they would tar and feather the whole genre as intellectually and morally bankrupt.
  • Suckiness Is Painful: Generally really bad movies either highly amuse or infuriate Drew and Scott. Then there's Slapstick of Another Kind, the film Drew (as of the March 1984 episode) regards as THE worst of the 1980s, enough to make him regret not only doing the podcast but the concept of cinema itself! Drew challenges the hosts of various bad movie podcasts, in particular How Did This Get Made?, to try and make it through the entire film — suspecting they cannot.
  • Sudden Downer Ending: Discussed and spoofed in the December 1983 episode regarding Reuben, Reuben, which has a much darker ending than they expected though it doesn't quite fit this trope (it's closer to Shoot the Shaggy Dog). Drew then imagines an alternate version of Arthur, which has a somewhat similar protagonist, in which the title character suddenly pulls out a gun and kills himself complete with gunshot sound effect. (Beat) Cue the chorus of "Arthur's Theme"!
  • Suddenly SHOUTING!: Scott, discussing the Slapstick opening titles of Superman III: "I-I don't get what we're LOOKING AT HERE! WHAT ARE WE WATCHING?"
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: invoked
    • In the July 1983 episode, Drew makes a case that the melody of Coco's Signature Song "Remember Me" is this to James Horner's love theme from Krull. In the next episode, he reassures the many people who wrote in about this that he was not accusing the Coco songwriters of deliberately stealing anything, just that it was indeed "a horrible coincidence."
    • In the December 1983 episode he finds something "worse than the Coco thing" — the melody from D.C. Cab's theme song "The Dream (Hold On To Your Dream)", specifically the Melismatic Vocals, turns up again in the Title Theme Tune of The Neverending Story the following year. This is easily explained by Giorgio Moroder having composing credits on both songs.
  • The Teaser: Though less frequent than The Stinger, some episodes feature a soundbite as the tape is being popped in.
  • Tempting Fate: Drew and Scott point out that titling a movie Gimme an F (November 1984) is just begging critics to use said title against it — and in this case not without reason.
  • Theme Naming: For the August 1984 episode the description refers to Drew and Scott as "John FilmNerd 2.0 and John Phillycheesesteak". Three guesses as to their favorite film of the month. note 
  • There Are Two Kinds of People in the World: "Those who love Top Secret! and those who haven't seen it", according to Scott. Drew's version is "Those who love Top Secret! and those who are wrong."
  • This Is Gonna Suck: This comes up fairly often for Drew and Scott, given they're trying to cover every theatrically-released film of the decade, but it's most obvious with 1983 as a whole. Scott regards it as the worst moviegoing year of the decade, and indeed there are a lot more B Movies than usual (because the home video markets and multiplexes were hungry for product) and a surprisingly bad batting average for the year's intended tentpole releases. Of the year's top 10 grossers, they only like/love four of themnote , find two watchable but overratednote  and abhor the other fournote .
  • Timmy in a Well: Spoofed in the episode descriptions for July and August 1980 to "explain" why We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties regarding the sound on Scott's end — he was trapped in a well at the time, and was subsequently rescued by a dog who had a parade thrown in its honor.
  • A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: Spoofed in February 1983's second "pitch meeting" sketch. Drew's Universal Pictures executive loves the idea of a sequel to The Sting by the screenwriter of the original and says it doesn't matter who's in it, they'll produce it. Then he learns the new leads are Jackie Gleason and Mac Davis. "Wait...OK, now wait...I know what I just said, but no, wait..." "Aaaaand scene!"
  • Troubled Production: invoked Discussed whenever it's relevant to the film they're discussing and how it turned out.
  • Values Dissonance: invoked Drew and Scott like to examine how many '80s movies got away with things that just don't fly in The New '10s (or only fly with certain audiences):
    • Comedies in which a character's behavior (said character is usually a white Fratbro) is treated as wacky good fun when it's actually a sex crime. This is how they describe many of the teen sex comedies of the era, especially after Porky's became a hit, and even some more straightforward comedies such as Stroker Ace and Blame It on Rio. It's also a big part of why they loved Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Risky Business, which both come off as Genre Deconstructions in their handling of the tropes of teen sex comedies. And as discussed in the August 1984 episode, the lead characters of these movies might as well grow up to be...
    • The middle-aged protagonists of many other comedies, particularly the romances and/or "midlife crisis" farces. They're all white men prone to selfish, entitled libidos, usually well-off and married. They're bickering, harassing, dishonest, unprofessional, even lawbreaking — yet get happy endings all the same. Dudley Moore (the lead in the film that kicked off the midlife crisis subgenre, Ten, in 1979) ended up playing a lot of these characters post-Arthurnote , to the point that by Best Defense the hosts note that they like Moore himself and they don't want listeners to be confused and think he was a scumbag. Burt Reynolds also did a run of these filmsnote , and Gene Wilder had The Woman in Red — which Wilder wrote and directed, making Drew wonder about what kind of a person Wilder must have been in real life.
    • Vigilantism being celebrated, as in Sudden Impact.
    • Casual racism, sexism, and/or homophobia, especially if it's Played for Laughs.
    • Minority characters being portrayed by majority actors. Scarface (1983) has only one principal Cuban character who's played by an actual Cuban, Caucasian actress Linda Hunt plays a male Chinese-Australian in The Year of Living Dangerously, etc. Drew and Scott are more forgiving of this practice than the others, especially if it isn't using Brownface, etc. and/or isn't Played for Laughs, but feel it must be left in the past.
  • Values Resonance: invoked On the other side of the coin, they also find movies that could just as easily have been made in The New '10s with a little tweaking. Frances (December 1982) and Star 80 (November 1983), for example, have this in the light of the #MeToo and Time's Up movements, going to show how little has changed in Hollywood and society at large when it comes to the treatment of women.
  • Video Game Movies Suck: invoked Discussed along with its inverse (see above) in the "Video Games" bonus episode. Drew and Scott argue that it's generally easier and better to incorporate video game culture into films rather than try to straight-up translate the plots of video games into another medium. For example, Cloak & Dagger has a video game serve as a MacGuffin, and The Last Starfighter hinges on an arcade game actually being a means of finding starship fighter pilots. And even that can smack of desperation.
  • We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties: The July and August 1980 episodes have sound issues on Scott's end giving his voice an echo effect that's acknowledged in the episode descriptions (for July: "you'll notice that Scott Weinberg was trapped in a well for this week's episode").
  • "Weird Al" Effect: invoked While discussing the film adaptation of Betrayal (February 1983), Drew points out that their listeners may well be familiar with the Seinfeld episode that parodies its Back to Front structure yet have never heard of the original work until now.
  • What Could Have Been: invoked Drew and Scott often discuss trivia of this kind for the films they review.
    • With both Arthur and Romancing the Stone, they lament this trope applying to the films' respective screenwriters, Steve Gordon (second-time screenwriter/first-time director) and Diane Thomas (first-time screenwriter). Both were practically destined for other, bigger things based on those films' success but both died young, he of a heart attack in 1982, she in a car accident in late 1984. It doesn't help that both movies ended up getting notoriously poor sequels by other writers.
  • Who's on First?: In October 1983, Drew can't understand why Scott won't tell him the title of the next film, only that it's Romantic Comedy. Scott bursts into tears ("I'm at the mercy of this horrible film!") as he explains that is the title of the movie: Romantic Comedy.
  • Wolverine Publicity: In the November 1983 episode, they regard The Smurfs and the Magic Flute as a case of this for American kids. The 1976 animated feature predated the famous Hanna-Barbera adaptation of the characters and as it adapts the original Johan and Peewit comic album that introduced the Smurfs (who became Breakout Characters), the little blue guys don't get a lot of screen time. Atlantic Releasing Corporation played up the Smurfs' presence when they picked up the film for an American release, and Drew and Scott imagine a lot of Smurf-loving kids were downright confused if not upset by the results — especially since Atlantic didn't even bother to hire the H-B voice actors for their English-language dub.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: Spoofed in the February 1982 episode as Drew brings up the songs Tom Waits contributed to One from the Heart: "And the piano jumped upside down/And the bathtub's full of vinegar..."

(Embassy Pictures logo music. The tape is popped out of the VCR and into a rewinder, and begins to be rewound.)
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